SYDNEY: Australia's reputation as a sporting nation extends beyond the arena to the sofa, as new research shows Australians to be among the world's most enthusiastic users of Twitter when viewing sport on television.

Nielsen, the measurement business, partnered with the microblogging site to monitor social TV conversations across Australia and found that sports generated 36% of all TV-related tweets. This was well ahead of the next two subjects for tweeting: reality shows and current affairs each accounted for 20% of tweets, then came news (16%) and drama (6%), The Australian reported.

"We seem to be over-indexing in sport," said Danny Keens, Twitter's global chair of television. "It's definitely bigger in Australia than it is in the US. It's a lot bigger than what we thought it would be."

The data showed that, during October, there were more than 1.2m tweets related to TV programs which generated more than 97.5m impressions.

The five highest rating programs in terms of Twitter engagement were the National Rugby League grand final and the Bathurst 1000 touring car race, followed by the finales of three reality shows – The Block, The Bachelor, and The X Factor.

Keens noted that all five were locally produced, as were all the related tweets. "It opens up huge opportunities for us to continue to work more closely with the broadcasters and the production houses here," he said.

Subscribers to the new metric are understood to get access to real-time analysis of what people are tweeting about across all TV shows, while the study is to be expanded to include data on which brands viewers are tweeting about, according to Scott Gillham, Nielsen head of Twitter TV Ratings.

"Being able to measure and evaluate TV programs by their social engagement allows networks to better understand audience reactions to their programming, while offering advertisers and agencies another element in evaluating where to place media spend and the impact of those placements in driving earned media," he said.

Data sourced from The Australian; additional content by Warc staff